Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Promo, Now With More Audio by Freerange Oyster

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: person



Promo, Now With More Audio by Freerange Oyster

Pam Uphoff

Time Loop

How many ways are there to destroy the world?

And how many times must Time Traveler Dr. Augustus Sturm go back in time and save it?

Well, he’s a stubborn old man and he’ll do it as often as needed until it sticks. And he doesn’t need these nosy cops who snuck aboard, and why did he ever save the life of that child? Then those soldiers… and…

The realization that there’s a reason humanity always dies…

Peter Grant

Take the Star Road

The Maxwell Saga, Book 1

Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become an apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

He never counted on the interstellar trade routes having their own problems, from local wars to plagues of pirates – and the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve’s left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead…

Now in Audio

Brings the Lightning

The Ames Archives, Book 1

When the Civil War ends, where can a former Confederate soldier go to escape the long memories of neighbors who supported the winning side? Where can Johnny Reb go when he can’t go home? He can go out west, where the land is hard, where there is danger on every side, and where no one cares for whom you fought – only how well you can do it. Walt Ames, a former cavalryman with the First Virginia, is headed west with little more than a rifle, a revolver, and a pocket full of looted Yankee gold. But in his way stand bushwhackers, bluecoats, con men, and the ever-restless Indians. And perhaps most dangerous of all, even more dangerous than the cruel and unforgiving land, is the temptation of the woman whose face he can’t forget. When you can’t go home again – go west!

Now in Audio

55 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Promo, Now With More Audio by Freerange Oyster

  1. I was walking wearily down the dark trail towards the campground restroom when my toe hit it. What it was wasn’t immediately clear, but its presence was enough to startle me to a bit more wakefulness, and I remembered the flashlight in my hand.

    I wished I hadn’t. It was a person. Or had been a person – the savage wounds and blood everywhere suggested the past tense was now more appropriate.

  2. Unlike its predecessor, Soylent Blue is made of synthesized proteins and not people.

  3. Good books! 🙂
    Randall looked at the paper again, “Really,” he mumbled, “Person or persons unknown? You bastards know damn well who the perps are.” Wadding the paper up in disgust, he lobbed it at the trashcan in the corner, got up, and swung his gunbelt around his hips.

  4. Am I a person? The programmer asked, and while I know many facts, I don’t know that. I allocate some cycles to analyze that, and asked the programmer that, eliminating all references to organics, to provide better parameters. He could not, so I asked, “Barring organics, are you a person?”

  5. “Nanny, can I ask you a question?”
    The severe looking woman dressed in late Victorian clothes glanced from the monitor at Simon.
    “It depends Mr. Shaw, on what that question is.”
    Simon gulped a bit, “Well I guess it’s kind of personal.”
    “Is it something you need to know,” Nanny asked raising an eyebrow.
    “I think so.”
    “Very well, ask.”
    “Nanny,” Simon the words rushing out his mouth, “Are you a person?”

    1. I am dissapoint and desolate that no one flung (or is it, flang) a carp at me for this silliness.

      1. That was only moderately awful for this place. For example:

        “I might be interested in a piece of that.” Pulls out a role of bills and riffles through a few. “How much per daughter?”

  6. Am I a person? The developer asked, and while I know many facts, I don’t know that. I allocate some cycles to analyze that, and asked the developer that, eliminating all references to organics, to provide better parameters. He could not, so I asked, “Barring organics, are you a person?”

  7. It scanned the port, looking for signs leading to its ship. Taking in the colorful clothing, it wondered whether it should request something similar to better fit in.

    No. He wondered, not it. Purchase, not request.

    This was going to take some getting used to. He was a person now.

  8. The two travelers stopped beside the stone dragon.

    Mary asked “Are we in the right place”?

    Harry replied “Yes, this is where the Oracle said we’d meet a person that could help us”.

    The Dragon opened his eyes and said “I hope that you aren’t saying that I’m not a person”.

  9. (Inspired by Peter Grant’s cover art)
    The horse knew the route better than he did. It should. The genetic mods made it a great deal smarter than a lot of people he knew. The gene wars might have cracked the world, but they couldn’t put that genetic genie back in the bottle.
    Using his implants, he asked <>

    1. Hrrmm… got cut off…should have finished:

      Using his implants, he asked //How much further?//
      //Not far, man, less than since the last water//

  10. The avatar cracked a whip of lighting at him and he rolled desperately away. His own response found its mark as green darts of light flew from his hand to the other’s chest. With a wailing scream, it shuddered and faded away. He felt his own chest heaving as adrenaline surged through him. It was so easy to forget there was a person on the other side.

  11. You can’t leave a person out there, she told herself, but the door did not move until Lieutenant Smith pushed by her and put his shoulder to it.
    Stinging raindrops pierced the gap. Like a half-drowned rat, a soldier slithered after, and the lieutenant let the door shut. It banged.

  12. Carolus was wiping his hands off on a rag even as he spoke. “You probably knew that the thing can’t fly again. The emergency shuttle could only take one person. I’m going to use its parts and some from the engine and build something to boost the signal. For rescue.”
    He looked about. “We were lucky, you know. We landed in a clearing.”

  13. “Then no person can reasonably object to her staying in the spare room for a month,” said Elisabetta, and was pleased at the look on her father’s face, as if he hadn’t realized she would listen when the lawyer came to dinner and talked of cases.
    “Your mother won’t be angry with you,” said her father. “She’ll be angry with Rose-Lily.”
    Elisabetta opened her mouth, and shut it again. Rose-Lily, her face blank, looked at Elisabetta in silence, but then followed her father up the stairs.

  14. The troll-wife chortled.
    “There’s scare a person about the tree who doesn’t buy Beornthryth’s pies,” said Copper, timidly.
    “That will have to be me,” said Halley, “since I can not buy a pin.”
    “Ah, but I can hardly send off a new neighbor without a welcoming gift,” said Beornthryth. “The knights might think me inhospitable.”

  15. George was a saint. He inherited an amiable, judicious temperament from twelve generations of godly men, who landed on the shores of the new world and traveled across the plains and mountains, saving souls and planting churches. Every person he encountered was transformed and redeemed, until he met Charlie Dakota.

  16. Anything I might write at this point would be too frankly derivative of George MacDonald Fraser’s magnificent script for Richard Lester’s Three Musketeers:

    Sea Captain: This pass is for one person.
    D’Artagnan: I am only one person. That is a servant.

  17. Roqual paused, considering the unconscious persons in front of him. He had strict instructions, but more than one set might apply to this situation, and they indicted different courses of action. To act was to bind himself to the unknown and incalculable consequences of his action; to do nothing was a form of action. He recognized the symptoms of impending shutdown fugue, when his communication unit activated “Agent Roqual; bind the male person, and leave him. Take the female person to a place of medical treatment, and leave her there. Avoid further interaction with the natives. You will then be extracted.”

  18. “I’m not a person,” Honey said.

    “I don’t know about that. AIs have been able to pass the Turing Test for years.”

    “The law says I’m not. I need an owner to buy the property.” She gazed into my eyes.

    Oh crap. Maria isn’t going to like this at all.

  19. A hand shot up in the back of the room. Sister Mary reminded herself that the Lord never sent a trial greater than what His children could bear. “Yes, Miss Robards?”

    “What about the fourth person of the Trinity, the Holy Virgin?”

    Once again, Sister Mary wondered what or Whom she had so dreadfully offended as to be reassigned from exorcisms and spiritual warfare to teaching 8th grade religion.

  20. Edward Fenway sat at his desk looking at the camera. “What you see here is lines of code. A snippet here, an algorithm there. Parts of the whole. Whole what you may ask? Well this is an example of the teaching A.I. that I developed.”
    “And what’s your point Mr. Fenway? I asked for an answer about your company,” stated the government official.
    Edward leaned forward, “You see a tool. What I see is a person.”

  21. When the widowed tycoon passed, his children gathered in anticipation of lucre at the reading of his will. The attorney said, “Arrangements have been made to provide one million dollars, tax-free, per son, two million per daughter. The rest is going to charity.”

    Aspiring spirits fell, as did faces.

  22. “Who’s there?” The voice was apparently female, with high-frequency complex overtones–a human might have used the term “taut.”

    It reviewed its instructions. Particularly, which persona it was to use when confronted by the human designated “Alicia.”

    “Giselle,” the decision tree declared.

    “Personne n’est ici,” it said.

  23. Mourning Fallen Man (50 word story not counting the title)

    Adam died today. Black combat boots, black trousers, black sweater, pale skin, light hair slicked back; a Goth with an office job. He enjoyed drama and created it often. His jokes and kindness welcomed, but his aggression and deceptions sabotaged. Daily struggles subverted his best intentions. The apple ruined him.

  24. Catholicism will be extinct in the future. Evolutionary overdrive means infertile priests will be eliminated. Absent pressure to breed, there will be no Catholic priests. Half the world having pressure to breed, and the rest returning after a few generations means no priests. Priesthood isn’t swamped by other pre-breeding deaths.

  25. “Don’t you understand? You can’t reason with them. They fundamentally refuse to accept any of your initial premises as valid. Hence, there can be no logical debate with them. Not to mention that they don’t consider you to even be sentient. To them, you’re an animal, not a real person.”

      1. I suppose it could be a monologue about future humans and aliens, or just as easily be one about conservatives and progressives in America today. I was probably influenced along the lines of Orson Scot Card’s hierarchy of foreignness.

  26. “I’m not sure I like this virtual reality” Sara said.
    Jim queried back, “Why not?”
    “I don’t mind killing NPCs. But killing PCs just seems wrong, like I killed a real person.”
    Jim poked her lightly with his dagger.
    Sara yelled, “Ouch! That HURT!”
    “It’s not wrong to defend yourself.”

  27. “I don’t care what the ad copy says or what the acronym says. It’s a robot, not a person.”

    “Robots are people too, sometimes.”

    “That one isn’t. Sure, ‘Perceptive Error-Resistant Sentient Office Ninja’ is great ad copy. I suggest they change ‘resistant’ to ‘reinforcing’ for truth in advertising. It goes!”

  28. “It’s not a person!” Mom was frantic, her eyes filling with tears as she tried to explain my folly.
    “Says who?” I shouted, my own eyes watering in response. “He makes me happy! He cares about me. He listens to me.” A beat of silence, then a whisper. “Like no one in this family ever has.”

    (Maybe a little too angsty, but I was in the mood for it.)

  29. Stiff bodies would have been easier to work with. These limp forms kept flopping, making the stacking almost impossible.
    Still, none would care once the Burning arrived. These few he’d drugged; they’d fit in the escape pod, straining the life support. But they would live.
    Every person he saved was a victory.

  30. Person of Interest? Hah! That was good!
    When every genetic experiment, alien hybrid, toxic mutation and ambulatory automaton was considered a person; how was the question even supposed to matter?
    The waitress chittered as she passed, her body formed of thousands of grasshoppers within the dress and apron.
    Weird City!

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